Tragedy strikes in Qwa-Qwa due to lack of water

Issued by Leona Kleynhans MPL – DA MPL of the Official Opposition in the Free State Legislature
31 Oct 2019 in Press Statements

Please find attached an English and Afrikaans soundbite by Leona Kleynhans MPL.

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The dysfunctional Maluti-a-Phofung municipality has been unable to ensure a sustainable supply of clean water for residents for the past four years.

The result of this is that many residents are now becoming ill with diarrhoea and dehydration. We have received reports of many people arriving at the Manapo Hospital in Phuthaditjhaba in a very bad state.

On one day last week there were 26 patients with diarrhoea just in the women’s medical ward alone. We have also received a report of at least one person who died because the ambulance only arrived after 5 hours, meanwhile there are only two ambulances available for a population of 380 000 people.

After the DA wrote to the Minister of Water and Sanitation in November 2015, funds were made available for 60 boreholes to be drilled and equipped in Qwa-Qwa. We have again written to the Minister to verify that all these boreholes were drilled and are in fact functioning. Maluti-a-Phofung Council meanwhile received a report about boreholes that must be equipped and electrified.

The Fika Patso dam is currently standing at 10% capacity making it impossible to pump. Only limited areas of Qwa-Qwa receive water from the Sterkfontein Dam which is 90% full.

Some tankers have been delivering water intermittently to areas, but residents are suspicious about the quality of the water.

In other areas residents have to dig holes themselves to find water, or get water from the natural springs in the area which are also used by animals.

Recently, the Executive Mayor reported that she had requested Gift of the Givers to assist with boreholes. This crisis comes after National Government recently allocated R30million for boreholes, however, due to cadre deployment policies and continuous financial malfeasance, the area remains poverty stricken and is now collapsing at a rapid rate.

Once again the ANC proves that their own enrichment is more important to them than the lives of the people. This entire tragedy can be laid at the door of their corruption, maladministration and plundering of state resources.

It is indeed true that corruption makes poor people poorer, and in this case corruption is actually contributing to the death of residents within Qwa-Qwa.

Only the DA takes people’s health and safety seriously. This disaster could have been prevented if all the funds allocated from National Treasury over many years had been used effectively to expand the pipeline network, maintain the existing system, dredge the Fika Patso Dam to increase capacity, and drill and equip the boreholes for which the funds were received.

The DA will be requesting a forensic audit to verify that the funds allocated for boreholes was indeed used for that purpose. If not, then those responsible must be brought to justice.